Cultural Considerations for Breast and Cervical Cancer Education among Marshallese Women in the Continental U.S.
The Marshallese community of Orange County California is a part of a highly mobile population that migrates between Hawai‘i, Arkansas, Washington, and California. In Orange County, the Marshallese community is primarily centered on faith-based organization in the city of Costa Mesa. Culture and language strengthen the bonds between different Marshallese communities across the U.S., and churches serve as conduits for communication between groups. Culture also places an important role in guiding behavior pertaining to health and social interaction. For instance, as in many other cultures, Marshallese men and women do not speak to each other about health, particularly reproductive health, in an open social setting. In Orange County, one female Marshallese health educator promotes breast and cervical cancer screening by talking informally with women, usually in faith-based settings and in-home visits. This community commentary describes the key cultural considerations and strategies used by the health educator to reach and educate the community.